Weekly Photo Challenge: The Golden Hour

A kind of golden hour one remembers for a life time… Everything was touched with magic

Margaret Bourke-White

Living on the coast as I do, I see my fair share of dramatic sunsets. Familiarity with my environment means I know roughly where the sun will set and just as equally where the sun will rise.

There’s a lot of references to the Golden Hour on the web. Google “Photography Golden Hour”, you’ll find somewhere in the region of 40 million hits. So what exactly is so special about the Golden Hour?

Typically, lighting is softer (more diffuse) and warmer in hue when the sun is near or below the horizon. As sunlight travels through more of the atmosphere, reducing the intensity of the direct light, more of the illumination comes from indirect light from the sky reducing the lighting ratio.

More blue light is scattered, so if the sun is present, its light appears more reddish – source Wikipedia.

In addition, the sun’s small angle with the horizon produces longer shadows.

If the sun is below the horizon, shadows are relatively non-existent.

As a landscape photographer, I find that my best photographs are taken during the Golden Hour because the warm colour of the low sun seems to enhance the colours of the scene.

Earlier I mentioned that familiarity with my environment meant that I knew where the sun would set and when. But what happens when I’m away in unfamiliar surroundings or in another country. That’s where a great little program called “The Photographers Ephemeris” comes into it’s own.

Golden Hour 7

Available for PC/MAC, IPad or Android, the Photographers Ephemeris helps me to plan my outdoor photography shoots using natural light. In effect it’s a sun and moon calculator, which allows me to see how the light will fall , day or night, for any location on earth.

Using this information, I knew that the sun would set behind this beach performer, meaning that I would be able to get a good silhouette of him in the evening.

Golden Light –  soft, warm, and magical. It gives a quality to images that can’t be beaten by filters or post processing…..

…..it’s free, and depending on weather, available every day. Twice.



18 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: The Golden Hour

  1. fgassette July 13, 2013 / 15:30

    Some beautiful photos here.



    • Mike Hardisty July 13, 2013 / 17:00

      Thank you, Francine. I did pick out some of my better ones for this blog post


  2. Tina Schell July 13, 2013 / 15:35

    Lovely Mike-no surprise :-). I’m a big Ephemeris fan, esp when I travel.


    • Mike Hardisty July 13, 2013 / 17:02

      It’s a great piece of software, Tina, wouldn’t be without it.


  3. stephenransome July 13, 2013 / 15:39

    Very very nice work Mike. Very nice indeed.


  4. princessdeloso July 13, 2013 / 17:41

    These are spectacular. Thank you for sharing and thank you for the ping back.


  5. Forestwoodfolkart July 14, 2013 / 01:05

    Stunning photos! I particularly like the colours in the one with the rolls of hay! Thanks for the link, too!


    • Mike Hardisty July 14, 2013 / 12:06

      One of my favourites too. Thank you for visiting and commenting


  6. petspeopleandlife July 14, 2013 / 05:43

    These are fantasic Mike. It’s hard to say which one I like the best but I suppose the rural scene with the hay bales is my favorite.


    • Mike Hardisty July 14, 2013 / 20:37

      Second attempt to comment, reply by email failed again…

      Hi Yvonne. That was a lucky photograph. I saw the bales earlier in the day, went back in the evening to photograph it. Next morning they were gone.


  7. Jo Bryant July 14, 2013 / 21:40

    Wow Mike…I don’t know what else to say.


    • Mike Hardisty July 15, 2013 / 11:59

      Jo, thanks for commenting, I did pick out some of my better ones for this post..


  8. Patti Kuche July 17, 2013 / 16:56

    Spectacular shots Mike, I love how you have showcased so many different , but all brilliant, golden landscapes.


    • Mike Hardisty July 18, 2013 / 08:48

      Patti, thanks for taking the time to comment, it was such a good subject choice this week that I thought I’d do it justice and include a good few photographs.


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